Although restrictive eating behaviors are very common during early childhood, their precise nature and clinical correlates remain unclear. Especially, there is little evidence on restrictive eating behaviors in older children and their associations with children's shape concern. The present population-based study sought to delineate subgroups of restrictive eating patterns in N = 799 7-14 year old children. Using Latent Class Analysis, children were classified based on six restrictive eating behaviors (for example, picky eating, food neophobia, and eating-related anxiety) and shape concern, separately in three age groups. For cluster validation, sociodemographic and objective anthropometric data, parental feeding practices, and general and eating disorder psychopathology were used. The results showed a 3-cluster solution across all age groups: an asymptomatic class (Cluster 1), a class with restrictive eating behaviors without shape concern (Cluster 2), and a class showing restrictive eating behaviors with prominent shape concern (Cluster 3). The clusters differed in all variables used for validation. Particularly, the proportion of children with symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder was greater in Cluster 2 than Clusters 1 and 3. The study underlined the importance of considering shape concern to distinguish between different phenotypes of children's restrictive eating patterns. Longitudinal data are needed to evaluate the clusters' predictive effects on children's growth and development of clinical eating disorders.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2018
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